Faith, Five Minute Friday scribblings, Simplify

Simplify: Good For the Heart

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Our Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—SIMPLIFY. This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. We write for five minutes on a given word. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out the Five Minute Friday website. Or, click on the link at the bottom of this post. As you read my simpler Friday posts, I hope you’ll join in the conversation!


Simplify is one of my favorite words. There’s something about it that feels so freeing.

One thing I’ve discovered is that if I want an unfettered spirit, it often begins with an uncluttered space. A year and a half ago, I became very intentional about decluttering, first one room, and then the entire house. Man, it felt good to get rid of things that we no longer used or needed. Things that no longer brought joy.

But, here I am 18 months down the road, and the clutter is creeping in again. Life got busy.

I left things undone. Because other things needed attention. And sooner or later, the “undone” piles up in my spirit. When my spirit is burdened, I’m more subject to discouragement and a skewed perspective.

I’ve been staring down all the piles that crept into our kitchen, our family room. My “pretty” room.

There’s something about getting things back in order in my home that prepares my heart for deeper intimacy with Jesus. When I have a clear space, I can unburden my heart to the Lord more easily. My ears seem more open to the promptings of my Father.

When I declutter my heart, I find a certain freedom to worship the Lord without worry. I discover a stillness that I can’t know when I’m holding onto the clutter of unforgiveness, out-of-order priorities. Of discouragement.

So as I continue into this year—as the boxes that mark my days begin to fill—I aim to find those uncluttered spaces in my home and my heart and dwell there. I want to be near Jesus. To hear his truths spoken to my heart.

When I simplify that which I can in my life and I simplify what my heart carries around, I discover the beauty of simply being in God’s presence.

What about you? How do you manage the clutter and the crazy that daily living brings? How do you keep an uncluttered heart with Jesus?

Click to Tweet: Sooner or later, the “undone” piles up in my spirit.

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday—Simplify


32 thoughts on “Simplify: Good For the Heart”

    1. Andrew, focus is such an important asset to have. I may be a bit of a closet ADD person. When I see clutter, I can’t focus. And closing off your sense of smell? That must’ve been a gift back in the day. 🙂 Praying for you, friend.


  1. “When I have a clear space, I can unburden my heart to the Lord more easily. My ears seem more open to the promptings of my Father.”

    I understand this one very well. My husband has the gift of changing things up on occasion. When the children are away for an extended holiday at my in-laws, he rearranges the furniture, the bookcases, we purge a great deal, he paints the children’s room, leans the homeschool space. It’s so refreshing and liberating after it all. I say that it feels like we’re in a new home. And it brings me joy, I have to admit, when I sit and read, write, or just ponder the life we have. Thanks, Jeanne, for bringing attention to this idea. Have you read that book in the news, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing?” It sounds like what you were describing here about removing things from the home that do not ‘spark’ joy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Erendira, it sounds like your husband is quite a gift to you. 🙂 I had my boys help me with purging in their bedrooms, and in the playroom. With them growing older, most of the toys are gone now. I LOVE, LOVE a clean space. It makes my heart happy.

      I have not read that book yet. I’ll add it to my TBR list. Thanks for sharing! have a great weekend.


  2. Jeanne,
    Beautiful post!! I have done the same thing…decluttered and then the clutter has a way of creeping back in. It feels so much better to live more simply without all the burden of stuff (both physical and mental/emotional). Joining with you in wanting to simplify (and keep it that way)!!
    Bev xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love an uncluttered space, don’t you, Bev? When I read your comment this morning, I realized my biggest source of clutter, at the moment, is paper-stuff. I need to evaluate what I’m waiting to file away and if I really need it. I like living simply without stuff burdening me down (physically or mentally/emotionally). May we both be intentional about simplifying this year. 🙂

      Hugs friend!


  3. Yes! I struggle with clutter and I feel so accomplished when my life (and house) is uncluttered. I need to focus on the good feelings when I’m looking at the clutter to help me get through the task!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m with you! I, too, feel so accomplished when my life and house are uncluttered. I agree. I need that “good feelings” feel again to remind me of why I think it’s so glorious to purge and organize! 😉


  4. I don’t know… I don’t let the stuff around me clutter my spirit. It’s stuff. Do I have a hard time letting go of it? sure…but ultimately it’s just stuff. it’s part of what makes my home MY home (and not someone else’s) clutter mentally is different. that takes a change in perspective and a willingness to talk my hurts and wondering and stuff out with the Lord and those he places in my life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, Annette. It’s just stuff. But when stuff snags my vision and my focus, then it’s not a good thing. Most of what’s been distracting me lately is all the to-do’s and the papers needing to be dealt with. And the leftover Christmas things my boys haven’t put away. And . . . the stuff that doesn’t add to my life, if that makes sense. 🙂

      And I definitely agree. with the mental/emotional stuff, the absolute best way to deal with it is through taking it to Jesus and talking it through with Him. Thanks for sharing your great thoughts.


  5. I love the idea of clutter-free… But it’s so hard with kids!! I’m learning to clear the spaces I need to and let go of the others. And, starting with one room is key! In both my house and my mind. How do I prioritize so the task isn’t overwhelming?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Annie. AGREED. It’s impossible to live clutter-free with children in the house. We’ve worked to teach our boys to keep their stuff in their spaces. Now that their older, I try (really hard) not to nag them about their rooms. Some days, they’re B-A-D. But, my desire is to keep our central living spaces as clutter-free as possible. It’s not easy.

      How do you prioritize so the task isn’t overwhelming? For the house, I first get a picture of what I want the end-result to look like. Then, I dedicate a certain amount of time to the room each day. I work from one side of the room to the other and evaluate the items. I have bags for throw away and give away in the room so the items can be placed in the appropriate bag. I like working with a literal timer because I know I get to come back the next day and do more work, and as things clear out, my heart is happy. 🙂

      For spiritual things, for me, it’s a matter of taking time with the Lord and journaling-conversing with him. He is pretty good about showing me the areas in my life that need His help with decluttering. It’s a process, rarely done in one day. I’m not sure if you were looking for a literal answer, but here it is . . . just in case. 😉

      So thankful for you, friend!


      1. L O V E your practical response!! 😉 I was finally journaling the other day during bath time and realized that it had been weeks (!!) since I had last found time. The task felt overwhelming and I ended up just bullet pointing thoughts. My goal is to set aside just 5 minutes to do this habit again. Baby steps, right?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yay! I’m glad you found it helpful. I don’t journal as much as I used to either. Good for you to begin journaling again more regularly. I JUST bought myself a journal to write in too. 🙂


  6. I’m with you. I can’t function in cluttered, messy spaces. They drain my soul.

    My church has just been through a year-long pastoral transition and part of the fallout has been junk everywhere. Physical junk, emotional junk, spiritual junk. I’m so ready to start clearing things out!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Marie. Cluttered spaces drain my soul too. Church/pastoral transitions are always challenging. The “fallout,” the “junk” takes time to sort through and come to terms with. I hope you have time to declutter around your spaces today. 🙂


  7. Un-clutter my heart. I love that. I’m going to use that in prayer too! Just today I was feeling very unmotivated, so I cleaned my desk off. Just doing that small thing gave me a sense of accomplishment too, to tackle the next project. Have a peaceful and open-hearted weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lynn, we are kindred spirits when it comes to clutter. 🙂 I love gaining that sense of accomplishment and creating a space to breathe so I can be motivated and work. I hope your weekend has been peaceful and open-hearted too. 🙂


  8. ” if I want an unfettered spirit, it often begins with an uncluttered space.”
    Oh Jeanne! I just love this. My spirit definitely longs to be unfettered. We are in another temporary home, and we are half packed and half unpacked. Part of me doesn’t want to unpack completely because I know that I will have to dive right back into packing up next September or so.
    I feel absolutely unsettled and that is definitely not where I wish to be. I do feel at least I have one thing in my favor as I already threw out so much when we moved from AZ to MI. I should bite the bullet and just embrace this new possibility. Thanks for another great post!


    1. Kelly, you’ve done a lot of moving. That can definitely bring an unsettledness to the spirit. It’s hard to enter all-in to a new home when you know you’ll be packing up again in a few months. I hope that God enables you to enter all-in to the relationships with the people around you for however long you’re there. Thank you for sharing real-life stuff here. I always appreciate your transparency, friend!


  9. You are encouraging me to get back to decluttering. Like you, I was really diligent a few years ago, but my piles are creeping back, and they DO rob me of peace and calm. I keep meaning to get back to 10 minutes a day. Today is Monday, a good time to start!


    1. Awww, Betsy. I’m with you. I’m getting back to a little decluttering each day. May we both learn to deal with the clutter before it becomes a mountain and live with God’s peace and calm. 🙂 So thankful you stopped by, friend!


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